Receiving the Evcharist: Subetroth and Stoutella

Receiving the Evcharist

Greetings! Summer has finally arrived here in New York City but we are still awaiting the sweltering heat and oppressive humidity to fully descend upon us and smother us into a state of perpetual stickiness, urban delirium and genocidal misanthropy. In the meantime, have I got the goods for you this time. The Metal: Subetroth’s Agnozia. The Booze: Knee Deep Brewing’s Stoutella.

The Metal: Subetroth’s Agnozia

Subetroth - Agnozia

You shall be forgiven for thinking, upon hearing the deep sleazy grooves of the first notes of Subetroth’s latest release Agnozia, that the band hails from the clammiest swamps of New Orleans instead of Modesto, California. Subetroth’s self-described “hooker party doom from the West” tastes, smells and sounds like a warped version of the American Dream daydreamed by malaria-stricken Hunter S. Thompson who passed out drunk and high while reading Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s The Preacher. The production is absolutely massive, thick and viscous. If you have ever wondered how low you can tune your stringed instruments, look no further. Guitars roar and slide with slippery swagger and you can physically feel the downtuned bass plow the benthic zone of a tar pit and scrape off the top layer of asphalt softened by the sun. It takes special skill and cojones to employ banjo and harmonica (the latter right after an especially punishing blast beat section) and make it work without falling flat or resembling a tacked-on afterthought. There is heartfelt pathos too, like on “Preacher, Drunker Killer” which starts as a somber yet gnarled ballad for the age of decay and disintegration, complete with an angelic, ethereal vocal duet before sinking deeper and deeper into an increasingly crushing muddy vortex, until suddenly joinked back to the surface for lungs to be refilled with sweet oxygen. To quote the lyrics of the closer “Rubber Band Moan”, these fine gentlemen “mine, bore, gouge, gut, and maim”, painting a vivid, feverish and sweaty picture of the human condition in the process.

The Booze: Knee Deep Brewing’s Stoutella

Knee Deep Stoutella

Well, if you are going be eaten alive by a pack of alligators or mauled by the Tron-ox-bear portrayed on the cover of Subetroth’s 2016 debut Native Alien, you damn well need to enjoy your grisly demise with a suitably special beer. Gods of beer have heard our collective prayers and ordered Auburn, California’s Knee Deep Brewing to prepare an offering to friends of stout and Nutella. Yes, you read that right. Stoutella is one delicious beer, a stout with plenty of chocolate and hazelnut, brewed with cacao nibs. Quite surprisingly, and in a pleasant way, it is softly roasted and has a body that stays below imperial levels of thickness and avoid overblown sweetness. In fact, this is outright addicting and besides beer connoisseurs will inevitably attract and degenerate a generation of underage drinkers. Actually, make sure you hoard every can you manage to find in your trusty beer store before the nation-wide moral panic begins and the National Guard rolls into town. You can thank me later.

I wish you have a chance this weekend to kick back, grab a beer and blast metal, preferably outdoors with a bunch of mates. While you are at it, please raise your flagon to brother Vincent and for his speedy recovery from his battle wounds and his triumphant return to the helm.


– Zyklonius

Initial Descent: May 21 – 27, 2017

Jordablod Band

MDF week is upon us and while I can’t be there I know plenty of you that are. Hopefully soon I can live vicariously through your experiences, be safe and enjoy. For the rest of you, it’s another stacked week here on Initial Descent. And leading us off is the amazing prog/black/death metal debut Upon My Cremation Pyre from Jordablod. If you’ve ever heeded my advice I implore you to check this one out — scorching way to burst onto the scene here. Next up is Wode with their second full length Servants of the Countercosmos and as ridiculously good as their debut was this one is even better. The formula has been altered slightly but the results are astounding, count on this one staying the course the rest of the year. Sólstafir return with Bedreyminn and unshockingly they’ve done it yet again — blistering post rock collides with their signature metal style and it’s, simply put, bliss. Last of the top slots goes to Illustrations with Acts of God and if you missed out on this band’s debut do not make that mistake again. Hardcore is the foundation but many elements have been added to make this a heartfelt and colorful album, highly recommended. As usual, there is much more to sink your teeth into right after the jump… Continue reading

Initial Descent: May 14 – 20, 2017

Steve Von Till - Harvestman
Steve Von Till (Harvestman) – Photo courtesy of Niela Von Till

I’ve said this a couple of times since hearing the tragic news of Chris Cornell’s passing: you never stop long enough to realize just how ingrained in the fabric of your own life an artist really is until it’s too late. Badmotorfinger came out when I was 17, a time when I was 10 feet tall and bulletproof but really just trying to figure it all out. What I gained from Soundgarden and the soulful, visionary vocals of Cornell was a safe place away from it all. A place I could just…be, tune out everything and escape. Throughout the years and other projects, solo or otherwise I’ve always been able to find that safe place, that frequency that allowed me to get lost in his music. Today it hits even harder. We’ve lost so many good ones but because of that time and place, being 10 feet tall and not knowing anything and hearing that voice, this one really hit home. Chris “Outshined” them all…rest in peace. Nine Circles offers heartfelt condolences to family, friends, bandmates and fans across the globe that were touched in any way by his music.

This week gives us yet another escape and it couldn’t have come at a better time: Steve Von Till’s project Harvestman returns with Music For Megaliths, the fourth full length of folk inspired ambient drone and its one you cannot miss (but if you’re a Von Till fan you already know that). Vancouver’s Device gives us their next — and unfortunately last — full length Good Things Never Last, an album full of classic and classy traditional heavy metal. We need this right now so do yourself a favor and pick this one up, trust me. Somnium Nox offers up their menacing take on atmospheric black metal with debut full length Terra Inanis and Abkehr suck every bit of air out of the room on their dark and sinister black metal debut EP In Asche. So there you have it, a week I wish we could do over with different results and new releases that give us somewhere to find some sort of comfort and escape. Please, be well friends. Continue reading

Interview: Uddipan Sarmah of Aswekeepsearching on New Album Zia, Post-Rock In India and Writing


Aswekeepsearching is a post-rock band from India. Their debut album, Khwaab released in 2015 was well received and the band also toured Russia. Last month, they released their second album Zia. The album is a unique take on post-rock and is unlike anything I have heard before. I spoke to Uddipan Sarmah (Vocals/Guitars) about the new album, post rock in India, their writing process and more. Continue reading

Book Review: Alexandre Dumas’ “Count of Monte Cristo” by Michael Martin of Ascentia

The Count of Monte Cristo

Over the next few months Nine Circles is very pleased to bring you a new series of book reviews written by musicians throughout the metal scene. As much as they love to write their own blast beats, discordant riffs and swirling maelstroms they also love to read and, for all of our benefit, discuss. The second post in this series features Michael Martin from the progressive metal band Ascentia with his thoughts on The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasContinue reading